PRECISION PRINTING IS TO BE THE FIRST UK printer with the HP Indigo 1000 B2 digital press when it becomes one of the beta users in August. And it is unlikely to be alone for long, for a wide range of UK printers have already seen the machine in NDA demonstrations or will be seeing the press during two weeks of customer previews until the end of the month.
The Dagenham printer is already among the largest Indigo users in Europe with six presses and has been beta testing an inline finishing system delivering collated book blocks on one of them. Managing director Gary Peeling is also inaugural chairman of the European DSCOOP, an independent collective of Indigo users.
BUT THE COMPANY ONLY INSTALLED ITS FIRST digital press in 2006, once satisfied that colour quality would match litho. Since then business has grown around 50% a year resulting in sales from digital coming to match those from its well invested litho operation headed by a ten-colour Speedmaster XL 75, an investment made after the last Drupa.
The B2 format is much needed, not only to cope with the growth in pages, which would have necessitated a further two presses of the existing format, but also to cope with customer demand. “There is a huge need for larger formats, for posters, A4 landscape, longfold leaflets and folders,” says Peeling. “This will push the brerakeven point with litho up a further 30-40% and will make it cost effective to print 5,000 A5 flyers by digital for example.”
THE PRESS IS INTENDED TO FIT AMONG THE existing Indigos on the first floor of the factory, but the inline finishing capability of the Horizon SmartStacker might change that with installation on the ground floor where existing B2 paper stocks and finishing equipment is placed.
“Streamlining the finishing is vital,” he adds, mulling the idea of slitting the larger sheet so that existing digital equipment could cope. Peeling is also intrigued by the EPM application, running three colours instead of four on some non colour critical jobs and allowing Precision to compete with prices from toner machines.
IN ANY CASE, PEELING IS CONVINCED THAT digital will continue to grow. “In the future print will be used in smaller quantities and will have to be of the right quality,” he says.